tv Your Business MSNBC September 8, 2013 4:30am-5:01am PDT
tear called preppers, people who are ready for any type of disaster, natural or man made. how entrepreneurs are marketing for them. and she had a great business plan for a new shoe company until somebody ripped off the idea. protects yourself, coming up next on "your business." ♪ small businesses are revitalizing the economy and american express open is here to
help. that's why we are proud to present "your business" on msnbc. ♪ hi there, everyone. i'm j.j. ramberg. and welcome to "your business" the show dedicated to giving you tips and advice to help your small business grow. business psychologists will tell you that consumer purchases are generally based, not on pragmatism, but on emotion. and that's why a growing number of entrepreneurs are marketing to a phenomenon of our times. those who fear the unknown and want to be prepared in the event of a disaster, or domestic terrorism. we found one small business that serves the so-called prepper movement. and practices what they preach. ♪
>> it's so important for people to prepare and to protect their family from what's coming. and for me, it's not if, it's when. >> i'm proud to be a prepper. i think most people are preppers. >> while they proudly call themselves survivalists or preppers, daryn danby and dave stewart, the owners of the california-based off the grid supply store also call themselves entrepreneurs. >> we carry the products that you may need in an emergency to take care of your family. >> that's 1 million volt, okay. now volts won't kill you, all right? but what's going to happen is, every muscle in your body when you get hit by this is going to -- and you will go over. >> if you have to start with empty plastic bottles, get the ball rolling. know that you have a supply of water that you can go to. because again, three days without water, and you are dead.
>> here's the question, how much water do you have saved up? because you think you're good so -- >> we usually keep like three cases -- three cases of the gallon waters. >> okay. >> which is probably like 12 gallons at the most. >> that's terrible, guys. that's terrible, okay? >> syria is a very immediate motivator it's powerful tool for both good and bad. >> adam is a professor of marketing at the nyu school of business. he said entrepreneurs use fear to directly market their products. >> what i'd like you to do is make a plan and market the plan. >> one of the keys is if people are feeling fearful, you give them the tools to deal with that fear. you give them a sense of control. >> it's the demographics. people who want to be comfortable and survive if there's an emergency. >> they actually manage the fear, overcome it.
even though the chance of something bad happening is small, we want to know it's something we don't have to worry about. >> fear say strange emotion. it's very beneficial but destructive at the same time. >> like many preppers, dave, the store manager, lives on a compound at this remote location. he keeps his family and emergency supplies secured behind this steel fence. >> let's say it's a terrorist attack or major earthquake or crash of the dollar, when that takes place, i highly suggest somebody has -- you know, you have weapons to protect you and your family. because those people that come to take, they're not going to be asking nicely. >> when that moment of crisis arrives dave feels he's going to be well prepare. he's got a solar-heated stove, water supplies, independent energy sources, a defensive lookout tower and a pantry stocked to the ceiling with food, medicine and weapons. darin tolding us one of his most important marketing lessons came from listening to one of his
customers, a prepper who came in right after the store opened. he was stationed at a nearby military base and a small comment made a big impression on darin. >> he goes, cool store, i wouldn't buy anything here. i said, why is that that? i said because this is all survival kits. where the mini survival wallet with the file if i need a file to get out of a thai handcuff if i'm being kidnapped. where's the mres, where's the knives? >> right away darin expanded his selection and sales took off. his customers didn't need to be lured into the store. when they arrived many walked right past the front to get to the back. one was a dedicated prepper who knew a lot about the gear and the politics. that was dave. >> what i would say to him, you know what, please get your head out of the ground, open your eyes, look at what's going on
around you. >> dave came to me and said, hey, i just want to hang out in your store. i want to talk to other people and share ideas and learn what they're doing. >> that's when darin decided to hire dave to man the front counter. >> my only complaint with dave is, he's so good at talking, sometimes, he's not selling. but the great thing is, most people don't make their major purchase on their first visit. you know, they really want to go home and study it. and make sure they're getting the right things. >> you want to look the fit between the salesperson and what they're selling. you're a prepper and survivalist and interested in selling to other prepares, at that point, they're concerned about the situation at hand. they're already engaged. >> adam says industries to market products to people's fears, health, insurance, fitness, something else all walk a very fine line. >> you can overload people and overwhelm them with fear. not enough fear obviously doesn't motivate people.
what you find in that sweet spot, that moderate level of fear, and you give them a sense of control to mitigate the fear. >> if something happens, god forbid, i'd want to be prepared for that. this company is clearly tapping into people's emotions. so what can we learn from what they did that can be helpful to your company? two great guests to give uninsight into that, marketing expert and change agent jeffrey hazlett is the head of the hazlett group and larry winglet calls himself the pit bull of personal develop. his book is called "grow a pair" how to take back your business and your sanity. larry, nice name. >> thanks. that say memorable name for a marketer. great to see both of you guys. >> it's always great to be here, yeah. >> you know, what i was thinking when i was watching this, a bunch of things about why they're successful.
one of them is something that someone told me this weekend is which is tell, don't sell. these people clearly walked the walk. got the experts to talk to the customers. the customer who was an expert. that is the best marketinging can do, right? >> aalways, being the brand that you are. that's what brand is all about. that and something that you put on a cow or horse. does fear work? absolutely. it's just do you want your brand associated with that. there are companies, remember the y 2k fear and nothing happened. the key thing is, do you want fear associated with your brand? let's use listerine, they use fear. fear of cavities, hal hala tosz and all the things that make fear. >> fear is not necessarily a fear of a terrible disaster.
>> dying. >> it could be fear of not dressing correctly for work. so is there a good way to look at this. in the same way, what problem am i solving? >> you know, we need to understand what we heard about growing up that love makes the world go around is an outright lie. fear makes the world go around. everything that we do is because of fear. never kid yourself about that. it absolutely works. turn over to the religious channels, we're not selling heaven, we're selling fear of hell. and we don't sell watches so you can be on time. we sell watches so you won't be late. we buy deodorant because we're afraid of smelling bad and people won't like us. everything we do is based on fear. and people buy from me, not because they're hopeful to find out how to be successful because they're afraid to be a failure. you've got to learn how to use fear correctly. and not just hit them over the head with it and scare them so
much they won't buy to use it to sell. >> so should we all be taking a look at our companies, no matter what we sell, and say, okay, what fear are we answering? turn it around? >> well it gets to the message directly. i think that's the key question you want. he's exactly right. that's what we're always selling in some way, we might be delivering the message even differently. you can sell fear with humor. there's lots of ways to do that, whether it's about bad breath, car safety. it's about everything. in essence, the ante side. what we learned in psychology class, the theory of existence. every psychologist practices every single day, they say something positively or negatively to move you off the fence. that's what advertising is doing. that's what selling is doing. fear say great motivator and always has been. again, do you want to be associated with the ultimate fear.
>> right. >> i think that's where you want a good understanding of your brand. you look at larry winget. he has a book that says "grow a pair." you know it's going to be direct. that message is very clear. >> you don't know larry very well. he's not direct at all. larry is a shrinking flower over there in the corner. larry, one other thing i took from the piece, this idea that he listened to his customers. the customer said this isn't the product i want, i want something else. immediately he changed it. >> there are a lot of great business lessons in the video we just saw. he does listen to his customers and his customers determined what he's going to sell and that's the stuff that's selling the best. we should all listen to our customers. and he hired a customer to run the front desk because the front desk needs that expertise. i think there's a lot to learn from that. >> larry and jeffrey, thank you for that advice. imagine what it might be like to come up with a business
concept, share it with other people, only to discover someone else ripped off your idea and then made a business out of it. it's the like a dagger to your heart, right? well, one business owner says that is exactly what happened to her. ♪ >> kathy repel has a tliefbing washington, d.c.-based shoe business. but this is not the company she thought she was going to start. that business was launched by someone else. >> they took the lease and almost took the same name. it was one of these things where, you know, is this reality, did i really just about open this store and have someone take this idea from me? >> it all started in 2003 when cassie quit her job as an accountant to follow her passion and open a specialized shoe store. >> what i was planning to do is offer something unique and off this edited collection.
a lot of people go to boutiques specifically for that. >> even before the launch, kassie was sharing her concept with friends and family. i was very proud, very excited. was telling lots of people. >> at a wedding kassie told some folks about her idea. she said those folks shared it with others. while attending a trade show in las vegas, she quickly realized her business idea may have been lifted. >> i went to meet with one of the designers, i had already previously met with her. she said, i'm so confused. somebody just came in, i thought they were with your company. they had a similar name. obviously, they're buying my collection. i thought it was you. i said, well, that is strange, do you happen to have their card? >> kassie called the phone number and got quite a surprise. as she recounts the conversation it went something like this. >> i said, eye my name is
kassiie, i was about to open the same exact store in the exact location, really almost the same name, too. well, you just must be shocked but it's not a coincidence, we actually heard about what you were doing, and we thought it was a great idea so we decided to do it ourselves. at that point, i was speechless. >> it's hard to imagine that someone would actually casually admit to stealing her idea. but whether they did or they didn't, kassie says because it was just still an idea, her hands were tied. >> there was nothing i could do. there was nothing tangible that i could go back and act upon. and i'm not sure i would have any help. >> it took months for kassie to get over her disappointment but she was determined to stick to selling shoes that's when devastation turned into inspiration. >> out of that really disparaging heart wrenching experience, my business was born. >> kassie reached out for a
crash course in catalog sales. she was determined to push ahead. >> at the time, people were thinking shoes in a catalog, that's never going to work. >> of course, that was then. and this is simply soles now. staying true to her original mission kassie owns a company that sells designer names and she's even added designs of her own. >> my brand is lily bee. it's become the best-selling collection. >> while kassie admits she's now tight-lipped about her ideas -- >> i'm a little bit more cautious. i think that would be a wise situation. >> -- she's pound peace with her path. >> i am where i am, and i'm very grateful to be here. so i really strongly believe, good or bad, every experience helps mold you and shape you for what's to come. >> small businesses have a higher fraud rating than larger
companies so how secure is your business? here now are five ways to protect yourself from some common forms of fraud in cybercrime courtesy of the u.s. small business administration. one, separate your personal banking from your business accounts. that way, fraudsters can't get their hands on all your money. reporting deductions on your tax returns will also be easier. two, use a dedicated computer for banking. make sure it's one that isn't used for any other online activity like social media, e-mail and web surfing. these tasks can make machines for susceptible to vulnerability. three, have a password policy. make sure you and your employees change them regularly. also, set rules that passwords are complex and use different passwords for different online and system accounts. four, do background checks on potential employees. the first step to prevent fraudulent employee behavior to make the right hiring decisions.
and five, secure your i.t. invest in a firewall as well as anti-virus, malware and anti-spy ware. when we come back, jeffrey and larry will answer some of your small business questions about how to expand your stock and marketing reach. it's that time of year to go back to school. so i return once more to my alma mater to learn more about succeeding with a minimal product. ♪ has it's ups and downs. seasonal... doesn't begin to describe it. my cashflow can literally change with the weather. anything that gives me some breathing room makes a big difference. the plum card from american express gives your business flexibility. get 1.5% discount for paying early, or up to 60 days to pay without interest,
or both each month. i'm nelson gutierrez and i'm a member of the smarter money. this is what membership is. this is what membership does. it's time to answer some of your business questions. jeffrey and larry are back with us once again. the first one is about effective ways to grow your employee base. >> what advice do you have for young companies as they're looking to grow their teams? what best practices on hiring would you have? >> larry, i'm going to start with you on this one. what advice do you have for him? >> go slow. >> yeah. >> especially when you're new and you don't have a lot of extra money. the most expensive thing you're ever going to have is a line item in your budget will be people. you make darn sure you really need to hire more people and that you can afford to hire more
people. first thing i would do is ask more from the people who already work for you. as far as best hiring questions, ask the tough questions. ask them what books they've been reading lately. ask if what they know about you and your industry, if they go, listen, buddy, i'm just looking for a job, let them look somewhere else. >> there's the key. >> i know from asking friends. the best people i have found is from my family and my friends. and the network of that group. i've always found the best people that way. the other thing is, i'd ask them, why wouldn't i hire you? it's amazing how many people actually answer that question in an interview. so when i talk to that potential employee -- >> in a real way, they don't say, well, i don't work too hard. >> something stupid like, well, i'm always late. it's amazing how i can check them off the list. i'm with larry, ask direct and hard questions. >> here's a question about getting more exposure for you and your company. >> i would like to ask how the
companies that you've been involved with have successfully garnered media attention and utilized that to their best ability to either launch a product or bring a product or bg their brand and image to a larger scale. >> this is your expertise, jeffrey. >> i love opm, other people's money, so i'm going to get other people to talk about my product. the best way is to deliver the product and service beyond anything you've done before. if you can do that, people will talk about their company. they'll go out of their way to recommend you. that's the best way. do a great job of what you're doing. >> do have you to ask yao your customers, hey, write about us? >> there's nothing bad about asking. never stop selling your company. i go into a friend's office and they say, i didn't know you did that. i learned early on, sell, sell,
sell. >> jeffrey is exactly right. the worst thing can you do to get media attention is say, look at me. it's much better to have other people say, look at him. you'll get a lot more attention that way. the way you get people to say, look at him, is to be amazing at what you do. in today's times you can't just be good. you've got to be amazing. you have to have great products, amazing service and there's nothing wrong with asking people to talk about you. >> i really like -- i've had great experiences. it doesn't occur to me to write about it on facebook but if someone comes to me, i say, sure. >> other people's money, it's the best kind of advertising you can get. >> the next question from paul. we've been marketing to small groups of users, getting one-on-one feedback. what is the best team to
. >> i would throw a word of caution in here. make sure you're able to handle those large groups. one of the worst things you can do as a small company is do a really good job for the customer base you have and say, look, we're ready to expand. you go out and it actually all works and you start to get people's attention and then you're not capable of handling that extra business. and then you screw the whole thing up because everybody's level of service goes down. so, be real careful when expanding to make sure you really have the resources to deliver the service. >> you know what's interesting about his question is he said, getting feedback from a small group of people. >> i don't understand the difference of feedback from small and large. when it comes to feedback, add a zero. there's nothing wrong with adding a zero and getting more feedback and you start it find new ways you can sell to different people you didn't know before. when we first get started, we
start off with the small group and they're usually a lot like us. you want to expand those. this is a great example of social media. it's a great way to do this in easy ways. there's lots of survey tools out there that you can use that are free and some you have to pay for. you should be adding more zeros here. >> also about getting feedback, i think -- this gets to your point, larry, about being ready to handle. on feedback, too, if you get feedback from people, you have to be prepared to be able to react to it, right? >> yeah, especially negative feedback. for a guy that sells all that fear, i get a lot of negative feedback. have you to be able to handle that criticism and learn from every krick tecritique you get. >> i love talking to you. if any of you have questions for our experts g to our website. the address is openforum.com/yourbusiness. once you get there, hit the ask the show link to submit a question for our panel. again,
openforum.com/yourbusiness. or you can e-mail your questions and comment to email@example.com. are you constantly forgetting all of the passwords for different websites? check out our app of the week. robo form is a free password form and form filler that allows one-click log-ins. sync with your desktop. information stored is protected by an security security p.i.n., so if your phone falls into the wrong hands, your information is still safe. one of the most interesting concepts is the idea of minimum viable product. i went to stanford and sat down with a handful of professors about what they see as key factors to business success today. we have the last piece in the series with you. i chatted with russell, spent 11
years at microsoft and venture capitalist. i started by asking him to define mvp as it relates to companies. >> minimal viable product is the fact you create simple prototype that allows you to put the product in front of your early customers and see if they respond to the few pieces of function, the few use cases you want them to respond to. just try to address the core of the problem. don't build lots of bells and whistles because that could be a lot of waste. >> this isn't even just about starting up. it's about launching a new product as an existing company or service. >> yes. in fact, some big companies. one company, intuit, this is how they launch new products. >> you strip a product of its bells and whistles, get it out to a few customers and see what they think?
>> yeah. it's all about experimentation. see if customers have some interest in doing what you're doing, even at an early stage. the sooner the -- the earlier the better, because in a sense what you want to find out is whether you're solving the problem before you invest a lot of time and energy. >> it's hard, though. when you have an idea for a product or a service and you can see the big picture, the perfect picture, how do you strip it down and still test it, still get them something that is viable as a consumer to experience? >> yeah. it's a trick. a lot of entrepreneurs have a problem with this. they say why wouldn't i put up the final, finished product? the truth is, if you find early adopters who care about the need, they should respond to that. if you don't get that spark, you're probably headed off in
the wrong direction. we salo resolution, simple things, see if you can get customers to respond to that. >> do you give them questions, surveys? >> yeah. that's sort of the trick of the mvp. customers' stated intentions is what they do is often different. you can ask them surveys, ask them what they think, but at the end of the day it's better to see them do something. that's the whole idea of the mvp. i might tell you i want something. i might tell you i'll use your product. but force me to try to use it and see if i do. >> you launch your mvp. highway do you get enough feedback so you know how to move from there? >> there's nothing special about that. what you need to do is enlist early adopters. those are the people motivated to use your product. you give if to them. they start using it. you follow up with them. hey, how often do you use it? one thing about internet kind of products, you can instrument the product and watch how often they use did.
that's a good sign. >> the key to all of this, then s having an open mind. you have this idea of a product and the end result you should be getting is entirely different. >> that's true. we tell entrepreneurs, get locked in on the problem, not the solution. the solution should come from the customer. you should have a vision. you want to direct the vision, in a general direction, but you don't want to get too focused at the beginning on the solution because you don't really know what's going to solve the customers' problem. >> i think it's fascinating. we talk so much about listening to the customer. this is the way to actually act on it, too. thanks so much. >> my pleasure. >> thanks for joining us today. to learn more about today's show all you have to do is click on our website. it is openforum.com/yourbusiness. once you get there, you'll find all of today's segments. plus web exclusive content with more information to help your business grow. you can follow us on twitter @msnbcyourbiz and also
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synchronizes your business expenses. just shoot your business card receipts and they're automatically matched up with the charges on your online statement. i'm john kaplan and i'm a member of a synchronized world. this is what membership is. this is what membership does. new videos the white house thinks can turn the tide on syria. president obama, the week since he announced he would be seeking congressional approval for a u.s. military strike against syria has been a long one. the math is not on his side. we'll have more on those numbers in a moment. to understand just how important it is to the president to wrangle all of the support he can for military intervention, we first need to not how is he trying to win those votes. the obama administration's desire to retaliate against